How to Finish Quickie Christmas Ornaments

This technique will work for aida or Hardanger fabric, but not an evenweave. The finished piece will be *relatively* stiff--stiff enough to function as a tree ornament but probably not stiff enough for a toy or a piece of jewelry--yet the front of your work won't look "covered" and "preserved."

Use full-strength Elmer's glue (or buy a commercial needlework stiffening product, such as Aileen's). Put down a piece of waxed paper.

On the reverse of the work, smear a generous amount, extending at least two stitch-widths beyond the edge of your stitching. You *don't* want the goo to seep through to the front side of your work, so check as you go that it's not oozing through the holes.

After you've smeared on the glue, move the piece to a clean area of the waxed paper. Check again and clean up any oozes that have made it to the front side. Make the piece as flat as possible and leave to dry. If you like, place another piece of waxed paper on top and weight with a cookie sheet and books on top. Let dry overnight. Carefully peel off top sheet of waxed paper and continue to air dry if necessary.

With sharp scissors, trim around ornament to within about 1 stitch (You have essentially made Aida Plus, so it won't unravel.)

If the ornaments are warped, get two clean sheets of white paper. Place ornaments between the sheets and iron with a fairly hot iron. Let cool thoroughly. (If you've sewn on beads, place a terrycloth towel under your sandwich of white paper and ornaments to cushion the beads.)

Cut a hanger loop of yarn or metallic cord and hot glue into place. Cover your mechanics if you like (glue ornaments to a piece of felt or cardstock; when dry, cut them out).

This technique can also be used to make napkin rings. They're somewhat delicate, however, so don't use them when you entertain the Hell's Angels! And make them just a wee bit bigger in inside diameter, too, so the napkin slides in and out easily.

This finishing technique will also work for a nametag. Or a picture frame, bookmark, placecard, etc.

It might work for jewelry, if you are careful when putting on the piece and taking it off and if it doesn't get too many hugs plastered on it. (You might prefer to stiffen items meant for harder wear--such as jewelry, napkin rings--with a layer of Elmer's on the front, too. Coat the front first, then the back. If desired, finish with a coat of varnish. I use water-soluble Varathane made by Flecto.) To attach jewelry findings (earring backs, pin closures), use a glue such as E6000 or Goop (use in a well-ventilated gluing location!). Elmer's or hot glue will **not** work! I promise that very soon the jewelry will fall from the findings; I learned this the hard way. To attach jump rings, poke a hole with a needle first.

copyright 1996, Martha Beth Lewis
Contact me about reprint permission.

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